About Christmas TV History

Monday, July 10, 2023

Christmas in July 2023: Skinflint (1979)


Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #10 in the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. Each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies that are a creative or imaginative adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition will be released soon).

Today's discussion is on the 1979 musical Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol. The feature-length contemporary adaptation of Charles Dickens’ tale "A Christmas Carol" features a cast of country music’s hottest recording artists of the 1970s. The country music stars include Hoyt Axton, Lynn Anderson, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, Larry Gatlin, Julie Gregg, Tom T. Hall, Barbara Mandrell, Martha Raye, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, and Dottie West. This musical's book is by Mel Mandel with lyrics and music by Mel Mandel, Norman Sacks, and Aaron Schroeder. 



In this musical story, the head of the Flint City Bank, Cyrus Flint, is visited by the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future to inspire him to transform his life. The classic Dickens' tale is updated to modern day, however viewers will easily recognize the familiar story and characters, including Flint as Ebenezer Scrooge, Roger as the nephew Fred, Dennis Pritchett as Bob Cratchit, Emmy as the finacé Belle, and TJ as Tiny Tim.

The cast includes Hoyt Axton as Cyrus Flint, Tom T. Hall as Jacob Burley, Mel Tillis as Dennis Pritchett, Lynn Anderson as Laura Pritchett, Larry Gatlin as Roger, Julie Gregg as Roger’s wife Joan, Barbara Mandrell as Emmy, Dottie West as bank teller Annabelle Williams, Martha Raye as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass as the Ghosts of Christmas Present, David Bond as The Ghost of Christmas Future, Dave Madden as the charity collector, and The Statler Brothers as the singing group The Flint City Four.

The songs in the production include "Christmas is Just Around the Corner" (Tillis/Gatlin), "The Happiest Man with the Million Dollar Smile" (Statler Brothers), "They Call Me Skinflint" (Axton), "Sitting in That Chair" (Anderson), "Turn Around" (Hall), "Honey in the Hive" (ensemble), "You’re Free to Go" (Mandrell), "Sonny, You’re a Dummy" (Raye), "I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You" (Statler Brothers), "All The Loving I Get From You" (Anderson), "Put the Roses Back in my Cheeks Again" (West), "Crossover the River" (Gatlin), "In That Empty Chair" (Tillis), "Dilly of a Day" (Axton), and "If Ever There Was a Christmas" (ensemble).

Wouldn't it be great to see a major network re-stage this Christmas musical with country music's biggest stars of today? I'd watch that!


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


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